Lung ultrasonography for the diagnosis of severe neonatal pneumonia

Chest. 2014 Aug;146(2):383-388. doi: 10.1378/chest.13-2852.


Background: Lung ultrasonography is useful for the diagnosis of pneumonia in children and adults. This study investigated the lung ultrasound findings in severe neonatal pneumonia.

Methods: From September 2012 to October 2013, 80 neonates admitted to Bayi Children's Hospital, affiliated with the Beijing Military General Hospital, were divided into two groups: 40 neonates with severe pneumonia according to their medical history, clinical manifestations, and chest radiograph findings and 40 neonates with no lung disease (control group). All subjects underwent bedside lung ultrasound examination in a quiet state. A single expert physician performed all ultrasound examinations. Findings of pleural line abnormalities, B lines, lung consolidation, air bronchograms, bilateral white lung, interstitial syndrome, lung sliding, and lung pulse were compared between the groups.

Results: The lung ultrasound findings associated with infectious pneumonia included large areas of lung consolidation with irregular margins and air bronchograms, pleural line abnormalities, and interstitial syndrome. A large area of lung consolidation with irregular margins had 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity for the diagnosis of neonatal pneumonia.

Conclusions: Lung ultrasonography is a reliable tool for diagnosing neonatal pneumonia. It is suitable for routine use in the neonatal ICU and may eventually replace chest radiography and CT scanning.

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pneumonia / diagnostic imaging*
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Ultrasonography